Hotel Chocolat to takeover closed Frankie & Benny’s

The former Frankie & Benny's in Gedling
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

A former Frankie & Benny’s outlet in Nottinghamshire will be taken over by a luxury chocolatier.

The Italian-American restaurant on Victoria retail park, Netherfield, closed in 2020 during a wave of branch closures.

The building has now been granted permission to become a Hotel Chocolat with Velvetiser Café, specialising in hot chocolate.

No opening date for the store has been announced yet.

It is expected to create 15 new jobs, with more staff hired at busy periods including Christmas.

Planning documents says the change will have a “positive impact on both the retail park and wider area by ensuring that an existing vacant unit is brought back into an active economic use.”

Hotel Chocolat is a British chocolatier and cocoa grower which has been trading for over 30 years.

While other chocolate-makers such as Thorntons have been forced to downsize in recent years, Hotel Chocolat has continued to open new locations.

It currently has 133 branches across the UK, including one on Albert Street in Nottingham City Centre.

Gedling Borough Council has granted permission to change the planning use from restaurant to shop and café, saying there would be no parking or highways issues.

The former Frankie & Benny’s has been closed for nearly four years, despite active marketing to find a new occupant.

Nottinghamshire has lost numerous branches over recent years as loss-making restaurants in the chain were closed.

The chain’s owner The Restaurant Group said the casual dining sector had faced huge pressures in recent years, which had been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There have been several waves of closures, with 58 locations remaining across the country.

The restaurant on Nottingham’s Giltbrook Retail Park remains open.

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